Archive for the 'media' Category

Thinking in paperback

June 17th, 2010

I found myself thinking a lot about books today, those rectangular things with their covers artistically crafted to lure us in, our noses stuck in them, eventually to be found mysteriously at the bottom of a bag or box with scruffy corners but no less valuable to us because of their contents and what they mean to us.

Our whole media world is busy going digital, we’ve seen this have a huge impact on some industries, especially the music industry which has been slow to adapt to the changing way that consumers behave. If the consumer wants it, they want it immediately, so digital music makes a lot of sense as a platform.

Logically it should be the same for books. Amazon released the Kindle, Sony followed closely behind with the Reader which has been heavily backed by Waterstone’s in the UK, Apple are late to the party but are claiming to revolutionise the way we read books with the iPad (who wants to travel with lots of books when you can take a sliver of aluminium and glass that you need to charge constantly).

On the London Underground this morning a business man was sporting a flashy new iPad, I was half expecting that he’d be nose deep in a novel or checking his email or some such, but no he was heavily stuck in a maze of menus, quickly realising with a pained expression that he had no connectivity to the Internet so anything that he didn’t already have on his iPad, he couldn’t get access to.

In the digital industry we’re always chanting content is king, and we’re always going on about the importance of simplicity, so at the very basic level I think those are clear reasons that the trusty paper book could continue to beat it’s electronic equivalent, but I can’t help thinking there is something just a little bit magical to them as well.

Books seem to have personalities of their own, they’re compact and happy to be carried around with you, letting you dive into the world they create for you whenever you want. They’re try not to be complicated, other than the alluring cover it’s no frills and no distractions.

We can’t seem to part with our books when we’re done with them. What is it that makes us cling on to them even though we might not read them again for years? We’ll might lend them to our friends, we might go as far as swapping them for other books, but we just won’t part with them for money alone.

Maybe they have some hidden cosmic value that we simply can’t put a figure on once we’ve been taken in by their story, or maybe I’m just crazy. Either way you have my colleague Ray, the random business man on the tube, and a client I’m working with at Waterstone’s to blame for this rambling!

Save the Children! (and your feet)

July 7th, 2006

Save the Children flip flopBit of a plug for the charity work we’ve been doing back at the office; none of that web design lark, one of our very own creative team has been responsible for the design of a pair of flip flops for Save the Children in the UK. We’ve also been responsible for some promotional design and also the email marketing (which I had to code today, with like… tables and everything, a sin to web standards!).

If your feet are aching to break out of those stinky trainers over summer and have their chance to breathe, then the funky red flip flops are for you.

Priced at only £9.99 the proceeds will help in the fight against poverty, disease, injustice and violence against children both in the UK and globally.

sIFR 3 Alpha

June 18th, 2006

Mark Wubben over at NovemberBorn has recently announced the release of the long awaited sIFR 3 alpha. When I first found the time at work to play with sIFR 2.x and had the opportunity to include it on a UK government site I had been working on I was absolutely convinced that it was the new alternative to accessible text headings.

sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement) brought the promise of gorgeous looking headings in any font you choose whilst preserving valid structural mark-up and also a saving on the time of having to generate images for each of your graphically styled headings.

In practice after including sIFR on a few client projects I began to stumble across bugs and difficulties, transparent backgrounds, font sizing and font wrapping just to name a few. I became rather resistant to using sIFR 2.x on client sites due to the unpredictable nature of any text that got close to a line in length, that may now change with the sIFR 3 alterations to those features.

I’ve started playing with sIFR 3 alpha today in the new design I’m developing for this blog and I’m already seeing a fair improvement in the features… the font sizing issues appear to have been resolved, transparent backgrounds are supported in full for the browsers that support transparent Flash movies, yes, there are a few bugs remaining but it’s only an alpha release.

Keep your eyes peeled over at the sIFR 3.0 alpha pages for future developments and bugs that fellow developers may have already experienced.

Fired up after @media 2006

June 17th, 2006

It’s been a long time since I’ve written any material that has been publicly available on the web, be it personal or professional. Since then my career has taken many paths from back-end developer through to front-end engineer and accessibility expert, and now to a role as senior developer at a full service digital agency based in London that sits somewhere inbetween the two with a much broader set of skills that need to be dusted off just as frequently.

On Thursday and Friday of this week I had one such opportunity to dust off with my colleagues Will Howat and Helen O’Doherty by attending @media 2006 with speakers such as Eric Meyer (CSS overlord), Molly E. Holzschlag (mother nature of the Web), Jeremy Keith (good turtle), Tantek Çelik and many others. Read the rest of this entry »